Revving Up “Red Folders” – Accelerating the Executive Document Review and Tracking Process

The executive document review and tracking process, the workflow that winds its way through government organizations that ensures the review and approval of key documents by the right executives and stakeholders, is well known to most government organizations.

In an effort to impart a modicum of affection to this often chaotic process, and based on the numerous documents associated with it, many departments simply assign it a folder color-based name. For example: the red folder process.

This process is part of the hard-wiring that underpins public sector agencies and government entities, assuring there are checkpoints to safeguard the integrity of the work they do.

We can thank China for many things: silk, gunpowder, spaghetti, and the public administration system that came to be known as “bureaucracy.” That may be a dirty word to some, but it was a benign concept in the eyes of its originators, who actually based it on tenets of Confucianism. Moral practices, merit, education, and mechanisms for societal order were all supposed to be embedded in a stable system that would deliver good governance – even when political leaders were, shall we say, less than competent.

As societies and economies have grown more complex, so have the jobs of the bureaucracies responsible for providing services and support to citizens, or regulating their actions. Even in an empire as large as that of ancient China, it’s doubtful that Confucius or the bureaucrats of his day could have predicted the breadth of challenges involved in modern government, even at the local level.

Preventing bottlenecks and breakdowns

Traditional approval processes are too tied to paper, with important documents filed and forgotten in folders, and potentially exposed too often to the wrong set of eyes.  Especially at the executive review level, it’s vital to move beyond paper-based processes as soon as possible

Government workflow automation via a proven, purpose-built SaaS solution gives us the solution to this quandary.

Digitizing and expediting the “red folder” process eliminates bottlenecks, speeds up how quickly government arrives at decisions, responds to community needs, and keeps constituents satisfied. In many cases, the timeliness of a review process may be crucial to statutory compliance, as well.

Solving “red folder” red flags

Some of the key pain points government workflow automation of an executive review process can address?

  • Elegant submission forms simplify the data inputs removing errors and improve and user experience).
  • Automated notifications prompt stakeholders to take actions, driving efficiency and accuracy through the process.
  • Controlled workflows ensure roles and permission structures are maintained with roles and permissions-based content distribution.
  • Poor collaboration can be addressed by enabling participants to access and work collaboratively within a digital workflow, even from remote locations or mobile devices.
  • Scattered documents and lack of approvals process oversight: A SaaS government workflow automation solution can consolidate dispersed “red folder” processes and document warehousing, so they’re now centrally managed and accessed.
  • Dated or inconsistent documentation: A SaaS solution, using a centralized data hub, can ensure directors, managers, and other stakeholders are reviewing the absolute latest versions of pertinent documents.
  • Wasted time and labor: Automating mundane processes saves staff and executive time, so taxpayer dollars are spent more efficiently.
  • Outdated processes: Administrators using the right SaaS tool can easily and flexibly update workflows and processes that may be in need of change.
  • Risk and exposure: An automated process improves preparedness and defensibility in case of any audit, as workflows can be automatically archived for later review.
  • Compliance: Standardizing processes via automation allows you to guarantee you’re aligned with applicable standards and legislation affecting your department or agency.
  • Security: The right government workflow automation solution, integrating proven e-signature technologies and meeting the highest security protocols, safeguards both organizational integrity and the personal data of citizens.
What to look for from a government workflow automation solution?

Nearly as problematic as sticking with outmoded paper-based “red folder” processes? Putting the wrong software product in place. There are feature sets only the most modern and proven government workflow automation solutions can deliver. They’re what a would-be adopter needs to use as benchmarks in evaluating these products.

1. Ease of use, collaboration, and reporting features: An intuitive and simple user experience drives quick adoption of the application; workflow dashboards empower process transparency and oversight, while sophisticated collaboration tools enhance teamwork even by remote participants; elegant analytics and reporting support governance and optimization.

2. Process automation features: Clear and simple HTML5 request forms can embed “smart” logic, and forms are routed automatically, accurately, and without errors.  These repeatable, compliance-based processes reduce risk, and automated notifications and alerts ensure participation. Plus, the software should allow unlimited, seamless integrations with legacy and third-party platforms.

3. Security features: Fully integrated electronic signature functionality, role-based permission settings to control user access to sensitive data, an advanced document repository for automatic archiving, and alignment with the toughest data security standards.

4. Flexibility features: Advanced configuration tools should allow total customization of forms and workflows to your exact needs, while the solution should be future-proofed – flexible and scalable so it’ll meet your demands today and tomorrow.

Out-of-the-box acceleration

Our own platform was built to deliver every one of these features, providing users with an out-of-the-box solution they can configure to automate their particular processes in short order, with zero coding and minimal IT involvement necessary.

The benefits to users become obvious very quickly:

We’ve already seen what you could call the ‘three As’ in action, as we’ve watched clients benefit almost immediately from an automated, accelerated, more accurate ‘red folder’ process.”
Gary Leikin, CEO, SimpliGov

With government workflow automation, the “red folder” doesn’t have to be a red light, a point where a process grinds to a halt. Instead, it can be one more opportunity to facilitate faster government service.

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